Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Brecht & the Dividends Opera

"A publishing house is different from a screw factory, but they follow the same economic laws. If I make losses, I can't afford to pay advances to authors."

- says Hans Barlach, a media investor who is embroiled in a power struggle at Suhrkamp, a legendary German publishing house with a list that stretches from Brecht and Hesse to Habermas.

There's something very Brechtian about the conflict. A flamboyant widow who basically inherited the company from her late husband; a bold minority shareholder who charges into this bastion of high-brow prose and refined literary salons, demanding a higher dividend.

I'm waiting for someone to post a Brechtian take on this on youtube, complete with "The Screw Factory Song" and Suhrkamp's panicking authors as the Greek chorus. How about "The Dividends Opera"?

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